Didsbury Arts Festival

Didsbury Arts festival is a volunteer led multi arts festival celebrating creative culture in Didsbury, through working with local, national and international artists. 

We are a biennial festival. The next edition will take place from 22 June - 30 June 2019. The festival theme will be Roots. If you would like to join the 2019 team, please get in touch.

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DAF Festival Director Daniel Williamson talks to Laura Linkomies about his new role
and coming back to his roots.

Tell me about your role with Didsbury Arts Festival 2015.
As Festival Director I am responsible for overseeing all aspects from planning, marketing and branding, to selecting artists, working with local groups and venues and making sure everything is delivered to a high quality on the day.

What challenges have you faced in your first year as DAF director?
Getting to know the networks of local people who have been involved in past festivals and finding out what they want to see happen this year. As a community-led festival, we are fortunate to have such a strong infrastructure of talented people from all sorts of backgrounds. It is fantastic that so many people want to support the festival.

What do you like best about Didsbury?
Didsbury is where my mother was born. She and my father met at The Gateway Pub! I have fond, childhood memories of visiting my Grandparents house on Parrs Wood Road and picking raspberries and digging up potatoes in their garden. I am really glad to to reconnect with the area and the community.

What is your artistic background?
My background is in the visual arts; I studied painting and performance. Since then, as well as doing my own work, I have been involved in many artist-led projects such as developing artist studios, setting up artists collectives, running events, exhibitions and festivals in the UK and abroad.

Why do you think artistic community is important?
The arts bring people together and give them a common, shared experience that provokes thought, reflection and discussion. Being involved with making and performing the arts, or engaging with them as an audience member, also helps to promote happiness and wellbeing.

How is the festival different from previous years?
This year we have rebranded the festival, to give it a fresher, more up-to-date look. For the first time we have invited artists to respond to a theme, In-between Places, which celebrates Didsbury’s suburban position between town and country. We are proud to have commissioned five new works, world premieres that all have the festival theme at their heart.

Are there many Didsbury-based artists/performers involved in DAF this year?
I am delighted to say that many of this year’s DAF artists are Didsbury-based or from Manchester. We have also brought in some great artists from the rest of the UK - many of them for the first time. We hope this mix of promoting local talent and exposing people to the best from elsewhere will inspire both local artists and the wider community.

What does the future hold for DAF?
After this year, the festival will become biennial, so we will be back in 2017. We want to give the team more time to develop new ideas and attract fantastic new artists, thus providing a better festival every two years. There will, however, be some smaller, one-off events and workshops in between DAF years, so look out for updates!


Interview by Laura Linkomies
Photo by Phil Portus